Saturday, February 28, 2009

Can't get enough of me?

Here are some new resources on communicating with customers and each other from yours truly - all of which are high-content, and some of which are free!

Porcupine now available as an e-book. My #1 customer service bestseller What to Say to a Porcupine is now available as an e-book from Click here to order.

Free webcast on prickly customers. An archived version of my What to Say to a Porcupine webcast for Parature Software is now online. Registration is required, but it's worth it - this is as close as you'll come to a free workshop on dealing with prickly customers, and the live versions of this event drew nearly 2,000 registered attendees! Go to, click on my smiling face, and sign up to listen.

Free coaching white paper. Best Practices for Coaching Your Support Team to Handle Anything is a new, complimentary white paper I developed for Here as well, registration is required but well worth it: and its sister site are, in my view, the best portals of free information on customer support out there. Click here to get your free copy.

Pre-order my new book. My new book How to Tell Anyone Anything: Breakthrough Techniques for Handling Difficult Conversations at Work is now available for pre-order at - click here to order. Coming soon in late May from AMACOM Books.

How to Tell Anyone Anything: the audiocourse. Finally, can't wait to read How to Tell Anyone Anything? The highlights of its companion training program - currently my most popular workshop - is now available as a CEU audiocourse, including an online workbook and test questions, from Briefings Publishing Group. Here's the link:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seeing people clearly

It happens to the best of us, especially at my age: every couple years or so, those darn road signs get blurrier and I need to go get a new pair of glasses.

This time, I decided to try my first pair of no-line bifocals, thinking they would make it easier for me sitting in front of my omnipresent word processor. In reality, the opposite is true: they give me tunnel vision, and I am constantly moving my head around chasing a small spot of clarity around the screen. So it’s probably back to regular bifocals for me.

Meanwhile, a busy optical store is a fascinating place to watch human nature and communication take place. Many people, when they try a new pair of glasses on for the first time, find it disorienting and complain about it. And the optical staff, being human beings, often react the same way our caveman ancestors did when confronted with a hungry saber-toothed tiger: they get defensive and start countering the customer’s arguments.

But when I go out of my way to be polite and upbeat about problems like my new bifocals, I notice an interesting dynamic: because I don’t challenge people, they go out of their way to validate my point of view and be helpful. They say things like “I can see why you react this way to them. Let me show you why this might be happening” instead of the usual “Well, you probably need to do X” response people give under pressure.

So here is my suggestion for you folks out there: next time you have a customer problem, be as charming and cheerful about it as you can. Even if you’ve been overcharged $70 or are returning a defective computer. And then see what happens. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised!